Independence Crushes Rocky River 26-0 in Key Conference Win

Patriots Joe Moraglia in route to 40 yard TD pass reception and run. (Photo by Ron Morris)
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MINT HILL, NC – The Independence Patriots on Senior Night played almost a flawless football game against their Mint Hill rival the Rocky River Ravens. The Pats dominated the first quarter scoring 14 unanswered points and then took control of the football game in the second half adding another 12 points in the final quarter to take full command of the final outcome.

Patriots Quentin Reddish has Ravens QB in his sights. (Photo by Ron Morris)

The Independence defense was rock solid all night achieving their second shutout performance in two consecutive weeks. The defense was led by senior DL Joshua Iseah with 10 tackles, 3 for a loss, 2 sacks including a pass interception, and a swarming defensive unit including solid play from DL Coriawn Griffen, DL Khalil Hoke, LB Taylor Russ, LB Moshay Saw, DB Joe Reddish, DB Quentin Reddish, and DB Khalil Morrison who all  combined to shut down the Ravens offense.

The Patriots scored first on two rushes by Amari Hakeem for 12 yards, a nice pass completion to Joe Moraglia for another 16 yards putting the ball at the 42 yard line of the Ravens. Hakeem gained 2 yards on 1st down, but on 2nd down from the 40, Patriot QB Cameron Kromah dropped back under good pass protection, he located his primary receiver Moraglia crossing on the 24 yard line beating the Ravens defender in full stride, the good hands receiver would haul in the spiral and race into the end zone for the games first touchdown. The PAT was good by Daniel Locklear, Indy had a 7-0 lead with 8:04 on the scoreboard clock.

Patriots RB Amari Hakeem rumbles for a TD. (Photo by Ron Morris)

Independence would strike again later in the 1st quarter. With a first down from the 9 yard line, the Ravens were penalized for an encroachment penalty, this placed the football on the 4 yard line. On the next play, Patriots RB Hakeem took the handoff from Kromah, he  burst through a hole off tackle for a 4 yard touchdown run. The PAT was good by Locklear, the Pats now had an early 14-0 advantage with 1:01 remaining in the opening quarter.

In the second half with the Ravens taking over possession, RB Antwoine Norris picked up a nifty 14-yard gainer, but on the next play QB Stringfellow fumbled the football, it was recovered by the Patriots at the 30-yard line. The offense led by Indy QB Kromah took full control of this football game. They put together a 70 yard, 20 play drive with 8:41 on the scoreboard clock in the 3rd quarter. Patriots RB Shaun Soloman became the workhorse, he accumulated 30 yards on the ground, his longest a 16 yard dash with Kromah adding two pass completions driving the ball down to the 15 yard line. On a 4th down 1 yard situation, a handoff to Soloman moved the sticks down to the 9 yard line for a Patriot 1st down as time ran out in the 3rd quarter. On 2nd down from the 6, another handoff this time to Hakeem who quickly found some daylight and scampered into the end zone capping off a 9 minute drive that simply took the wind out of any comeback hopes from the Ravens. The long drive was well designed by the offensive coordinator, also well managed and executed by Kromah, including the Pats entire offensive unit was a devastating blow to Rocky River.

Patriots defense pursues Ravens RB Jaylan Byrd. (Photo by Ron Morris).

The knock out punch came with 7:11 remaining in the football game. After Soloman carried the ball down to the 3 yard line, Hakeem on the next play took it to the 1 yard line, on the QB Keeper, Kromah galloped into the end zone giving the Patriots a commanding 26-0 lead and all the momentum.

The Patriots on a two game winning streak outscoring their opponents 77-0, will now take on their arch rival perennial powerhouse Butler Bulldogs in the final game of the regular season. The Patriots are 4-4 overall, and 3-3 in the conference. Butler is undefeated in the conference with a 5-0 record. This should be a very interesting matchup next Friday night under the lights.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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